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Spoken English and Broken English by George Bernard Summary in English

The essay "Spoken English and Broken English" by George Bernard Shaw is a written version of a radio interview that was broadcast in 1927. This essay seeks to discuss how to speak English to a foreign English language learner when we visit the British Commonwealth, the United States, or encounter a native speaker. It even claims that the native may even speak in a regional or cockney dialect that he is somewhat ashamed of and that this may even prevent him from obtaining some employment that is only available to those speaking correct English.

There are three sections in the essay. There is no single example of English speech that is considered to be correct, as is emphasised in the first section. Everyone, whether they are native speakers or visitors, needs to keep in mind that there is no perfect form of English. He claims that no two British people have the same speech pattern. Despite the fact that they all have different speaking styles, they are all understandable and thus acceptable as people of high social standing.

The second section discusses how everyone speaks differently in public and in private, regardless of education level. To make an impact and be understood, a person speaking in public needs to be careful and weigh each word before speaking. A man, however, is less concerned with his speech, grammar, articulation, etc. in private. Shaw uses himself as a test subject in this particularly funny section.

Shaw provides advice on how to communicate with locals in the final section, and here he offers yet another caution of a very different nature. The first thing a foreigner should do is speak with a strong foreign accent and use sloppy, illegible English. Then, every native with whom he communicates would be aware that he is a foreigner, make an effort to comprehend him and be prepared to assist him. He shouldn't anticipate that everyone will be courteous and speak in complex sentences. However, given that so many people now live in nations like America and Britain in addition to travelling to many other English-speaking nations, this advice is incorrect and out of date.

People are looking for the "correct" way to speak English as a result of globalisation taking over the world and the requirement to learn multiple world languages, of which English is at the very top.



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